As the New York Times reported this week, a growing number of states are recognizing that reliance on prolonged solitary confinement is not only ineffective and destructive, it’s expensive. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is encouraged to see growing national debate about the abuse and immorality of prolonged solitary confinement and a growing number of faith-based state campaigns to end prolonged solitary confinement. Now is a crucial time for you to raise the issue with your congregation. NRCAT has a new resource for you to do just that.
NRCAT created a 20-minute film, Solitary Confinement: Torture in Your Backyard, as a resource for congregations to learn about the destructive use of prolonged solitary confinement and to engage people of faith to call for an end to prolonged solitary confinement in their state. The film features several former prisoners discussing the mental harm they endured as a result of being held in solitary confinement. Sarah Shourd, one of the three hikers captured in Iran, who spent 14 months in solitary confinement also describes her experience. The film also highlights how the religious community in Maine helped secure a seventy percent reduction in the number of Maine prisoners held in solitary confinement.
We urge you to organize a screening of Solitary Confinement: Torture in Your Backyard. Use our faith-based discussion guides to facilitate a discussion about solitary confinement after the film. The DVD order form, a petition version of NRCAT’s Statement Against Prolonged Solitary Confinement, fliers to advertise your congregation’s screening, and faith-based discussion guides are all available at www.nrcat.org/backyard. Be sure to fill out this brief survey to tell us about your viewing or plans to host a viewing.
Help us meet our goal to have 500 showings of the film in 2012 and give a voice to the tens of thousands of prisoners held in solitary confinement cells across the country.